By Melanie Cane
Since its formation seven years ago, the Rye Country Day Track & Field team has placed third three times and second the past two years in the NYSAIS championship. This year, the Wildcats broke through to win the NYSAIS at Icahn Stadium in New York City on May 23, besting Riverdale Country Day School 136 to 99.
Rye Country Day was seeded second, but Coach Charles Ogbanna said the top four teams were very close. “We weren’t expected to win, but that was always our goal, regardless if we were the favorites or not. I knew we had a shot at winning if everyone competed at a high level. Many people had great moments during the meet.”
Three Wildcats won their individual events: Cullen Coleman won the 100 m dash; Jackson Brodwolf the 200 m; and Richard Antoine placed first in the discus throw. Coleman and Brodwolf also won the 4×100 relay with Julian Martelly and Max Smith.
Both Martelly and Matt Molinelli achieved personal bests. Martelly came in third in the 400 hurdles and the 200 m dash, and fourth in the 400 m dash. Molinelli finished second in the 110 hurdles and fifth in the 400 hurdles.
Nick Verni finished second in the triple jump and seventh in the long jump. Smith finished in third place in the triple jump and sixth in the long jump. In the high jump, Allan Houston and Nick Tallis came in third and fourth, respectively.
“I’m so proud of the kids and happy for them because I know how hard they work,” said Coach Ogbanna. “After coming in second — by half a point last year — our team was very motivated to finish what it started.”
The top performers will compete in the state meet at Cicero North Syracuse High School June 8-9. But because Rye Country Day graduation conflicts with the meet, the seniors can’t go to Syracuse. So, Coach Ogbanna will take three alternates, Cameron Coleman, Robbie Fox, and Greyson Humphrey.
Also heading to States is runner Isabel Stronski, who won the 1500 m. The Wildcats Girls’ team placed fifth at the NYSAIS championship meet.
Matt Molinelli in motion
Cameron Coleman, at right